The one I like isn't the one it will probably work out with.
January 23, 2013 4:23 PM   Subscribe

I'm a woman, 20s. I'm talking to two women - A and B. A has everything I want on paper, and there's a spark there... but there's more of a spark with B, who has next to nothing I want on paper. Is it a bad idea to pick B?

I'm trying to be vague in case either of them happen to be members here. A has what I know I like in a partner from previous experience - talkative, job, car, outgoing, all around awesome. B has no job, no car and is shy and not very talkative. I also have a difficult time reading her due to aforementioned shyness.

I'm the type of person who likes to talk for hours and hours, likes activity-based things, and likes to be able to read the other person, which matches with A's preferences. B finds activity-things to be awkward due to the talking involved and prefers to do something like watch a movie. I also have a feeling that a lot of social activities I like to do with my partner are going to be out due to B's shyness. I went on two dates with B expecting there to be nothing there, and actually ended up really liking her.

The problem is I feel more sparks/butterflies with B, but I don't know if it could work long-term... A and I have a good long-term outlook and crazy chemistry but now I'm going to know that I could feel more of a spark with someone else. I don't feel anything when I kiss A, but my insides go wild when I kiss B. But I can be weird about kissing and sometimes that has to grow overtime... so I don't know if that should be a factor?

I've been taking things slow and neither person expects exclusivity yet, but with the rate things are going with A and I I'm guessing I'm going to get asked to be exclusive soon. If you were in this situation, who would you pick? Or would you throw them both back into the sea? Or maybe pick A and see if it just takes more time to see if the spark gets to the level it is with B? Is it a horrible, horrible idea to pick B and hope for the best? Am I overthinking all of this?
posted by Pericardium to Human Relations (18 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'd choose sparks over checklists every time. Maybe it won't work out, but you won't live your life wondering what if you chose sparks. There will always be people who meet the checklists.
posted by advicepig at 4:32 PM on January 23, 2013 [6 favorites]

The fact that you say that you really like B, but other than sparks, mention nothing about why you like her, makes me think you would be happier with A.

More generally, I think it would depend on three factors, not necessarily in order of importance:
- whether B has the desire and the potential to be more like A "on paper"
- how important those things are to you/me
- what depth of relationship you/I desire at that point

I would choose no less than both sparks and checklist.
posted by sm1tten at 4:35 PM on January 23, 2013 [5 favorites]

If you don't feel anything when you kiss somebody, I think that's a pretty good indication that you shouldn't continue to date them.

That said, activity checklists suck - as was being discussed in this ask yesterday, you want somebody with the right kind of character, not someone who is into the right kind of activities. You should find out more about person B before you make any decisions about them.
posted by zug at 4:38 PM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

I don't think we have nearly enough information. Where are you in life? If you're still looking to be free and easy, looking for fun and still not completely sure what city you're going to be living in next year- then you may want to go toward someone with a little less in the way of being locked down with career and things.

If you're ready to settle, really settle and build a long term partnership with long term trappings- exploring with someone closer to that part of life might be a good way to go.

But really- there isn't any way to be sure either relationship is going to grow past the next few months. Go slow and find out who you fall in love with!
posted by Blisterlips at 4:43 PM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Popping in to mention that I'm looking to settle and am pretty settled myself.
posted by Pericardium at 4:47 PM on January 23, 2013

Doesn't sound like either of them is what you're looking for--I'd keep looking.
posted by tzikeh at 4:48 PM on January 23, 2013 [9 favorites]

Best answer: What I know would be reasonable for me to do in this situation was to date A for a few months and see how things go - spark can grow over time. If it doesn't, then you give up and start over.

What I'd probably do, because people are dumb, is date B for a few weeks, find her annoyingly insufferable because she doesn't fit anything I want in a partner, break it off, and have ruined my chance with A.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 4:52 PM on January 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

Sadly, relationships are not all-kissing all-the-time things. Eventually you have to share a tv remote with the person you're in a relationship with. You have to share a bathroom. You have to share a bed. You have to decide what's for dinner, and who's going to go shopping, and who gets to drive, etc. etc. etc.

It sounds to me like you'd get frustrated with B pretty quickly. Kissing-sparks are great, but they don't stand up well against boredom and contempt, which both grow easily when you're not getting what you need anywhere but in the sack.

If it has to be one or the other, I'd say toss B back if A asks you to be exclusive. But I'd also tell A you're not sure yet and while you're willing to be exclusive, you want to take things slow and get to know each other before you make any kind of a real commitment. Sounds like you're both pretty young. You've got time to figure it out!
posted by kythuen at 4:55 PM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think a look in the mirror to ask yourself if you're the sort of person who is somehow intrigued or turned on by people who aren't right/good for you. Some people are, it's no big deal but it might give some insight into the spark/butterflies thing with B.

I think that the "on paper" things that you are looking for don't sound too mercenary. Having someone that you share interests with and who can get themselves around (It's unclear if you live in a place with good public transpo or if B's not having a car becomes a relationship issue) becomes more of an issue once you're back at the "let's keep our pants on this afternoon" part of the relationship. I'd agree that maybe neither of these people are the right people or that both of them are sort of right and it might be worth spending more time either figuring it out or playing the field.
posted by jessamyn at 5:06 PM on January 23, 2013 [4 favorites]

How long have you been dating either of these women?

I would go for B. If she's shy, she probably hasn't opened up to you yet, and it seems like you're assuming that there's nothing going under the surface. That may be the case, but it's also possible that she's more guarded in the early stages of dating than Ms. A.

Friendship and common interests are important, but the intangible romantic feelings need to be there, as well. And give shy people a chance!
posted by ablazingsaddle at 5:12 PM on January 23, 2013

Best answer: It's okay to say that you're not ready to be exclusive when/if you're asked. It doesn't sound like you're ready to commit to either one. I get that you're ready to settle down, but if that's your primary motivation for picking one or the other, it's going to end in tears. You should "pick" the person you can't imagine being without. If you're not sure, then don't close off your options.
posted by Wordwoman at 5:38 PM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you date someone for the wrong reasons, you'll end up breaking up for what turn out to be all of the right reasons. Perhaps neither A nor B is a good match for you if you're looking for a relationship. Or, maybe a long term relationship isn't what you really want right now.

Date someone because you get that fun tingly feeling that makes you want to date that person. Save the paper for grocery lists. Even in this era of smartphones syncing to desktops with to-do list apps that sync too, nothing beats paper for a grocery list. But, for dating, paper pretty much sucks.
posted by 2oh1 at 5:50 PM on January 23, 2013

Best answer: Normally I would be all "go with the sparks, you can't date someone unless you want to lay them, screw the checklist." Sexual whoa has to be the #1 thing when you're picking a life partner/wife/whatever, and if you honestly don't have any bit of that with A, then you can't pick A.

And a lot of people go for the "opposites attract" thing, even with people who they have little or no hobbies with in common. I don't really get it, but it seems to weirdly work for a lot of people.

But: you honestly make B sound like a silent, no-fun couch potato that you're not really into other than sexually. Could you tell us WHY you feel all sparky and like her better? Because I really don't get why you like her better to hang out with from your description. I also don't get how you have "crazy chemistry" with A and yet feel nothing when you kiss her, but vice versa for B. Are you genuinely unattracted to A sexually whatsoever?

Also: are you the sort of person who "knows" early on, or do you take dates and dates and dates to fall for someone? If you're the former, and you're genuinely NOT feeling it for A, then you might as well cut A loose now. If you're the latter, well, I concur that you aren't ready to settle down with either though.

I suspect the real answer to this is c: none of the above, though.

What I'd probably do, because people are dumb, is date B for a few weeks, find her annoyingly insufferable because she doesn't fit anything I want in a partner, break it off, and have ruined my chance with A.

It sounds to me like you'd get frustrated with B pretty quickly. Kissing-sparks are great, but they don't stand up well against boredom and contempt, which both grow easily when you're not getting what you need anywhere but in the sack.

Yeah, I strongly suspect you're going to go with dating B rather than A, but I'm just not feeling like that's the right answer from your question. I suspect that if you find B too quiet and boring to hang out with otherwise, that the sparks may fizzle. Maybe B livens up more when she's more comfortable and less shy, but then again, not every extrovert fits well with an introvert either.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:21 PM on January 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

You're attracted to B, and you "don't feel anything" when you're kissing A. I'd say A is out then, since you really should enjoy kissing your girlfriend. Mind you, you made B sound quite boring. So date B, but -- like the others have said -- I have a feeling B's not the one either. Date her and see.

Also, a car? I dunno, I see why that's handy, but what if someone ticks all the boxes and takes public transportation? I would've been awfully sad if my SO crossed me off the list when she found out I take the bus. I do chip in for (and pump) the maybe the worked in my favour.
posted by Lescha at 6:45 PM on January 23, 2013

A sounds great for you, but no sparks is a huge red flag for me personally. I can't do the paper checklist thing, though--I tend to start with attraction and go from there, which is not necessarily the wisest course of action.

I'm not really getting what the appeal to B is from your descriptions of her, either. I mean, I'd rather watch movies that do some activities myself, but I also like talking about stuff and having fun and it sounds like B is kinda not up for much. I'm feeling like she must be really physically attractive. ;)

If I were your best friend, and you were asking me what to do here, I think I'd ask you some questions like these:

Have you tried curling up and watching a movie with A? Would B go out and do some activities if you wanted her to? It's hard to compare apples to oranges.

Is B really young? The shyness, coupled with no job, makes me wonder. Do you kinda like being the worldly, knowing partner, or maybe just enjoy being dominant in a relationship, so that shyness is part of her appeal?

Why doesn't B have a job right now--is she going to school, just got laid off, got fired for stealing, has no ambition, or doesn't have to work because she's independently wealthy? I think it matters because sometimes where people are in life is just happenstance, and other times it says something about their character.

Right now, I'm pretty sure you're going to do what tylerkarazsewski says, but like jenfullmoon, I'm feeling c, none of the above, is probably going to end up being the right answer to your question.

Sorry, that's just my read (and I could be completely wrong).
posted by misha at 7:31 PM on January 23, 2013

Why don't you go on some dates with both of them, non-exclusively, and after several dates, take a short break from dating both -- and see who you miss more? Plus, that will give you a chance to learn more about both of them, which may change the way they fit into your checklist.
posted by davejay at 7:43 AM on January 24, 2013

Toss 'em both back, look for C.
posted by like_a_friend at 8:33 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: In an unexpected turn of events, A and I got on the topic of exclusivity randomly and we both agreed we don't want to rush things and aren't ready for that yet. I was surprised because with the way she'd been talking I expected her to be like "let's be girlfriends!", and it's a very pleasant surprise because yay we can like each other and still take things slowly!

Yeah, I celebrated too soon... a few hours later, B made a comment that made me suspect she wasn't okay with not being exclusive anymore. I asked her about it and she admitted that it bothered her, she wanted exclusivity and was feeling jealous, but she didn't want to control me and wasn't going to ask me for that. Surprising because emotionally, things with B and I have progressed a lot more slowly than with A.

B actually apologized for her jealousy and seemed to think she was in the wrong for wanting to be exclusive, she was so self-deprecating about it that I'd feel like an asshole continuing to see them both now. But I still don't know if it will be A, B, or C (sea).
posted by Pericardium at 12:33 AM on January 25, 2013

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